Packaging Guidelines for Overnight Parcels

We understand the importance of your shipment arriving safely and securely and endeavour, at all times, to ensure that it arrives in exactly the condition that it was despatched.

However; any consignment sent via an overnight network may be subject to adverse environments caused by weather conditions, transport vibrations and the automated handling machinery used to sort and route each consignment at hub level.

We recommend the following packaging guidelines should be considered before sending any shipment.

External Packaging

Where dimensions and parcel shape allow the most suitable form of packaging is a corrugated box.

Whilst we would always recommend recycling / reuse of packaging where possible, every time a box is reused its protective qualities diminish to a certain extent. We recommend that senders of heavy goods use new corrugated boxes in every instance.

If you wish to reuse a box please ensure that it satisfies the following:

  • It’s rigid.
  • In excellent condition.
  • No pre-existing damage.
  • All pre-existing marks and shipping information has been removed.

Note also that original manufacturers packaging may have only been designed to protect items during shipping to a distributor and may not be satisfactory for onward shipment via a network.

Electronics and fragile items should be double boxed; the original manufacturers packaging should be left in place and this container placed inside a corrugated outer box along with suitable inner packaging as described below.

Internal Packaging

It is critical that your items are adequately packed within the box and protected by suitable internal packaging; this must protect items both from the outer pack and other items within the package.

We recommend leaving a space of at least 5cm between the outer container and the product inside. This space should be filled with internal protection of some which the most popular types are listed below.


Polyethylene Bubble Wrap To be used in multiple wraps and layers to ensure that the item is completely protected especially on corners and edges.
Polyethylene Foam   To be used when wrapping delicate items where a soft, non-abrasive and lightweight cushioning material is required.
Inflatable packaging (air bags) To be used primarily as void-fill material for lightweight items but not recommended for items with sharp corners or edges.
Loose fill expanded polystyrene ‘flow-pack’   For use as a void filling material for cases and containers or for lightweight items.  Overfill the box, gently close the flaps, and seal securely. Do not use with flat or narrow products that may move to the edge or bottom of the carton in transit.  We recommend a minimum of three inches of cushioning be used around contents.
Engineered foam enclosures This may include expanded polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene or copolymers. Enclosures should be pre-engineered for specific products.
Foam-in-Place Foam-in-Place is foam sprayed into the box or mixed in packets. This is a chemical mixture that expands and forms a protective mould around contents, supporting corners and protects edges.
Corrugated paper rolls and inserts These may be added to increase strength and improve package performance.
Crumpled Kraft wrapping paper or newspaper For use primarily as a void-fill material for light to medium weight, non-fragile items.  Kraft wrapping paper must be tightly crumpled. Place at least 10 cm of paper between the item and outer box.
Cushion wrap A single faced corrugated paper coated with cohesive. Ideal for packing of books, CDs, DVDs etc.


Liquids cannot be sent via Speed Couriers overnight network without prior consent; this is because many liquid containers are not designed to endure the transit process and require substantial repackaging which, if not done correctly, leads to an increased risk of damage both to your consignment and those of other network users.

Where liquids can be accepted the following guidelines must be adhered to:

  • Containers securely sealed to prevent leaks.
  • Containers wrapped in sufficient absorbent material to contain any leaks; this should then be covered with an impermeable material.
  • Bottles should be separated using cushioning materials, such as foam or corrugated cardboard, to them touching each other and sealed in a plastic bag to avoid damaging other parcels.
  • Bottles should ideally be packaged in specific made for purpose bottle packaging.

Sealing your packages

If your packages are not adequately sealed you risk loss of or damage to the contents; you should not use the following

To close a box securely, do not use:

  • Masking tape
  • Cellophane tape
  • Duct tape
  • String
  • Bungee straps

PVC box sealing tape available from stationary suppliers should be used in all cases to securely seal packages.

* Please note that Speed Couriers (Northern) Ltd will accept no liability for the packaging guidelines or advice that it provides. The customer remains ultimately responsible for ensuring packaging and labelling is adequate for transportation.

*Please note that any packages processed by Speed Couriers that are found to be insecurely sealed and unfit for onward transport may be resealed and you may be charged in line with our Terms and Conditions of Business. Alternatively the packages may be returned to you for resealing and you may be charged in line with our Terms and Conditions of Business.

Download a copy of Speed Couriers Packaging Guidelines

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